“Gabi Conti’s romantic losing streak was broken when she met Daren Johnson — and gave him a much-needed attitude adjustment.” – The New York Times
Gabi and Daren were married in an intimate ceremony at Greens Farms Congregational church in Westport this past summer. Since Gabi is an author, I figured getting her direct take on planning the wedding would be MUCH more insightful than listening to me yammer on!!!
Gabi says: In terms of planning during COVID — because of the uncertainty, we wanted to keep our wedding super small and local for my mom (who is high risk and can’t travel). We knew we wanted to get married at Greens Farms Church in Westport — the church I grew up going to, got confirmed at, and has been a wonderful and supportive community for me and my family. And luckily the Johnsons we willing to make the trip from Indiana to Connecticut for the big day.
But the historic church was under construction — so we picked October 9th which was after the Church was planning on opening — knowing that it would definitely be ready by then.
For the guest list — we were always planning on a 20-30 person wedding. Which basically meant immediate family only.
Once we had the church confirmed, we needed a place for an early dinner after — so we chose Paci in Southport
— a restaurant my family and I had rung in milestones growing up — like my high school graduation and birthdays. And we picked Tarry Lodge in Westport
for the rehearsal dinner and to welcome our out-of-town friends to Westport — another Conti family favorite spot!
After we had the locations — we needed a photographer. I asked my friend Zach who I worked with on the Emerson Channel in college if he had any recommendations — because I know he does photo booths at weddings and is local — and you were at the top of his list. I loved how natural your photos were — they didn’t feel forced or staged, just really in the moment and candid — which felt so us. And when we met you — your energy was just perfect for our day and we really love the photos so much. In fact — your recommended list of vendors is how we found our florist Stems + Co
who was able to incorporate my mother’s wedding flower calla lilies into my bouquet and tied them up in a periwinkle ribbon for “the something blue.”
Make-up came recommended from my cousin’s friend who’s a hairstylist in New York and had worked with J Guerra who was incredible. I found my hairstylist Kechmara Beaute
from looking up hairstylists in Westport that can come to you — since it was just me needing hair. I got my dress from BHLDN in Los Angeles — which also has a store in Westport — thankfully because the day of my wedding my veil wasn’t sitting right and I had to have Emily my MOH pick up one from the BHLDN store in Westport which I paid for over the phone while getting ready!
Our cake was “Pinterest on the outside” cannolli on the inside (like me) by Angela Mia’s bakery
which I also found by looking for Italian bakeries in the area. We had it topped with a custom cake topper from Custom Cake Topper that I found on Etsy. The figurines were styled exactly like us on our wedding day — so Daren couldn’t see my figurine until after the wedding. It now sits on our bar cart.
Because of the pandemic — only I could make it to Westport before the wedding. I had to wait until May when I was fully vaccinated to book the trip — Daren couldn’t take time off work, so my dad came with me to see the locations for the reception and rehearsal dinner, and to come cake tasting with me — while we had Daren on Facetime or the phone.
All of the Westport hotels were accommodating other weddings – so we were lucky to find Hotel Zero Degrees in Norwalk
which honestly I think is nicer than the overpriced hotels in the area. Everyone there was so accommodating and nice – and they gave us a great rate for our out-of-towners.
But overall planning even a 28 person wedding, in the pandemic on the west coast when the wedding is on the east coast and you work full time was a lot. But it came together beautifully and we couldn’t be happier — especially with your photos that let us relive our special day.
*Be sure to check out this NY Times piece on the wedding which is really pretty cool!! I mean, THAT doesn’t happen every day!*